Been working late on your laptop? Slept in some awkward position? Not used to playing tennis or golf for more than an hour but still played for half a day with friends? At one point or another, you must have felt some stiffness or pain in your neck, shoulders or back. I am not an expert in the field, but I work a lot on laptop frequently and experience pain in my shoulders, upper back and neck quite often and I know some tricks. So, here are some tried and tested remedies which might be very useful to release the stiffness. You can do a few of them right in your office. before popping pain killers, try following these eight ways to naturally relieve neck pain.
This is the simplest remedy you can try at home. Just apply a hot water bag or heat packs to your neck and shoulders. This helps increase the blood circulation in the area and give some relief. Some people prefer cold packs. Try both of them to figure out which works for you.
Ask a friend or a friendly relative to gently massage your trapezius muscle, which extends from the base of your skull down to your back and shoulders. This will ease the muscles and help you relax. But be sure to make certain that the massage is not too harsh.
3. Neck exercises.
Rotate your neck. Breath in while bringing your head back and breath out while lowering your chin towards your chest. Rotate your head very gently in clockwise directions 7-8 times. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Do this very gently. Your aim is to relax the muscles, not to stress you out even more. Regular movement helps the muscles stay stronger.
4. Stretch your shoulders.
Roll your shoulders backwards and forward. Lock your fingers, and raise your arms above your head. Look straight ahead and don’t shrug. Hold for one minute and lower your arms. Relax, roll your shoulders once again and then repeat the stretch. Do not do any stretches, which could potentially increase your pain. Better, contact a chiropractor to show you some simple stretches that will relax your muscles further.
5. De-stress yourself.
Clasp your fists together at your back. Pulling your shoulders together, try lifting your hands as high as possible. Hold for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat this de-stressing exercise. This is one of the stretches which I do frequently, sometimes several times a day. A very simple exercise to try.
6. Avoid uncomfortable positions and activity.
Avoid driving, heavy lifting, or sitting in any position which will stress your shoulders and neck even more. Avoid neck collars as well. Restricting movement might do more harm than good.
7. Try “healing” foods.
Dark chocolate. Yes, you get candy. It provides flavonols, compounds that help improve blood flow to those tired muscles. Blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, ginger and cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties and, in turn, soothe the muscles.
8. Don’t be shy about resting up.
Take a day off. Go home. Relax. Watch your favorite movie and go to sleep. Make sure you sleep on a low and firm pillow, as this will prevent unnecessary bending of your neck.
And if none of those work, contact your doctor immediately. The pain could be resulting from some serious underlying problem which you need to get checked immediately.
Featured photo credit: Kurt Komoda via flickr.com